All About Diabetes
On this page you can find information about diabetes. Also you should visit our diabetic shoes and slippers category for more information best protection for your diabetic feet.
- increased thirst and urination
- increased hunger
- blurred vision
- numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
- sores that do not heal unexplained weight loss Symptoms of type 1 diabetes can start quickly, in a matter of weeks. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly—over the course of several years—and can be so mild that you might not even notice them. Many people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms. Some people do not find out they have the disease until they have diabetes-related health problems, such as blurred vision or heart trouble.
If you suspect you or your child may have diabetes. If you notice any possible diabetes symptoms, contact your doctor. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin.
If you've already been diagnosed with diabetes. After you receive your diagnosis, you'll need close medical follow-up until your blood sugar levels stabilize.
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. What is known is that your immune system — which normally fights harmful bacteria or viruses — attacks and destroys your insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This leaves you with little or no insulin. Instead of being transported into your cells, sugar builds up in your bloodstream.
Type 1 is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors, though exactly what those factors are is still unclear. Weight is not believed to be a factor in type 1 diabetes.
In prediabetes — which can lead to type 2 diabetes — and in type 2 diabetes, your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, and your pancreas is unable to make enough insulin to overcome this resistance. Instead of moving into your cells where it's needed for energy, sugar builds up in your bloodstream.
Exactly why this happens is uncertain, although it's believed that genetic and environmental factors play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes too. Being overweight is strongly linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, but not everyone with type 2 is overweight
During pregnancy, the placenta produces hormones to sustain your pregnancy. These hormones make your cells more resistant to insulin.
Normally, your pancreas responds by producing enough extra insulin to overcome this resistance. But sometimes your pancreas can't keep up. When this happens, too little glucose gets into your cells and too much stays in your blood, resulting in gestational diabetes.
Risk factors for type 1 diabetes Although the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, factors that may signal an increased risk include:
Family history. Your risk increases if a parent or sibling has type 1 diabetes.
Environmental factors. Circumstances such as exposure to a viral illness likely play some role in type 1 diabetes.
The presence of damaging immune system cells (autoantibodies). Sometimes family members of people with type 1 diabetes are tested for the presence of diabetes autoantibodies. If you have these autoantibodies, you have an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes. But not everyone who has these autoantibodies develops diabetes.
Geography. Certain countries, such as Finland and Sweden, have higher rates of type 1 diabetes
Researchers don't fully understand why some people develop prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and others don't. It's clear that certain factors increase the risk, however, including:
Weight. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
Inactivity. The less active you are, the greater your risk. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
Family history. Your risk increases if a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
Race. Although it's unclear why, people of certain races — including black people, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans — are at higher risk.
Age. Your risk increases as you get older. This may be because you tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as you age. But type 2 diabetes is also increasing among children, adolescents and younger adults.
Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes later increases. If you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4 kilograms), you're also at risk of type 2 diabetes.
Polycystic ovary syndrome. For women, having polycystic ovary syndrome — a common condition characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity — increases the risk of diabetes.
High blood pressure. Having blood pressure over 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If you have low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good, cholesterol, your risk of type 2 diabetes is higher. Triglycerides are another type of fat carried in the blood. People with high levels of triglycerides have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Your doctor can let you know what your cholesterol and triglyceride levels are.
Long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually. The longer you have diabetes — and the less controlled your blood sugar — the higher the risk of complications. Eventually, diabetes complications may be disabling or even life-threatening. Possible complications include:
Cardiovascular disease. Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke and narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis). If you have diabetes, you're more likely to have heart disease or stroke.
Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish your nerves, especially in your legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward. Left untreated, you could lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Damage to the nerves related to digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, it may lead to erectile dysfunction.
Kidney damage (nephropathy). The kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessel clusters (glomeruli) that filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Eye damage (retinopathy). Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness. Diabetes also increases the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
Foot damage. Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can develop serious infections, which often heal poorly. These infections may ultimately require toe, foot or leg amputation.
Skin conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.
Hearing impairment. Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.
Alzheimer's disease. Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease. The poorer your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be. Although there are theories as to how these disorders might be connected, none has yet been proved.
Depression. Depression symptoms are common in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Depression can affect diabetes management
Type 1 diabetes can't be prevented. However, the same healthy lifestyle choices that help treat prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes can also help prevent them:
- Eat healthy foods. Choose foods lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to prevent boredom.
- Get more physical activity. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day. Take a brisk daily walk. Ride your bike. Swim laps. If you can't fit in a long workout, break it up into smaller sessions spread throughout the day.
- Lose excess pounds. If you're overweight, losing even 7 percent of your body weight — for example, 14 pounds (6.4 kilograms) if you weigh 200 pounds (90.7 kilograms) — can reduce the risk of diabetes. Don't try to lose weight during pregnancy, however. Talk to your doctor about how much weight is healthy for you to gain during pregnancy. To keep your weight in a healthy range, focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits. Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as a healthier heart, more energy and improved self-esteem. Sometimes medication is an option as well. Oral diabetes drugs such as metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, others) may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes — but healthy lifestyle choices remain essential. Have your blood sugar checked at least once a year to check that you haven't developed type 2 diabetes.
Essential for life, the hormone insulin regulates many metabolic processes that provide cells with needed energy. Understanding insulin, what insulin does, and how it affects the body, is important to your overall health.
Tucked away behind the stomach is an organ called the pancreas, which produces insulin. Insulin production is regulated based on blood sugar levels and other hormones in the body. In a healthy individual, insulin production and release is a tightly regulated process, allowing the body to balance its metabolic needs.
What does insulin do?
Insulin allows the cells in the muscles, fat and liver to absorb glucose that is in the blood. The glucose serves as energy to these cells, or it can be converted into fat when needed. Insulin also affects other metabolic processes, such as the breakdown of fat or protein.
Problems with insulin production or use
The most common problem associated with insulin is diabetes. Diabetes occurs when the body either does not secrete enough insulin or when the body no longer uses the insulin it secretes effectively.
Diabetes falls into two categories: Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot produce insulin sufficiently to meet its own needs. This commonly occurs in children, and while an exact cause has not been found, many consider it to be an autoimmune disease. Some symptoms of type 1 diabetes include tiredness, increased urination and thirst, and problems with vision.
Type 2 diabetes is more commonly associated with adults and lifestyle choices. People with type 2 diabetes will produce insulin but often not enough for their body's needs. They may also struggle to use the insulin they produce effectively. Patients may not know they have type 2 diabetes until they have an annual checkup, as symptoms tend to be mild until the disease has become severe.
When the body does not produce enough insulin or use it efficiently, blood sugar levels build in the body. Also, the body's cells do not receive the energy they need from glucose, so the patient may struggle with fatigue. When the body turns to other tissue, like fat or muscle, for energy, weight loss may occur.
High blood sugars are a common symptom of diabetes, but patients who are treating their diabetes with insulin injections may inject too much insulin on occasion. This causes the body's cells to take too much glucose from the blood, leading to a low blood sugar episode. Low blood sugar can cause confusion, dizziness and fainting. Because nerve cells rely entirely on glucose for energy, low blood sugar can also trigger a nervous system response.